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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

So          HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

Roman Conquest in 30 B.C., and a most generous patron of
learning. Ten years after its establishment, which took place
about 295 B.C., it had 200,000 manuscripts, and by the middle of
the First Century B.C., it was reputed to have 700,000, The
museum, "the temple of the Muses/' was established by
Ptolemy Philadelphus in continuation of his father's work as a
place of residence for the scholars and investigators who spent
their lives in study at the royal expense.

The actual work done under these new conditions followed
directly the tradition of the Athenian schools, and especially the
school of Aristotle. The very idea of a library as an indispensable
adjunct of scholarship which underlay the Alexandrian system
was suggested by the example of Aristotle, who was the first man
to make an extensive collection of books and to muster facts of
all kinds as a basis for study. And the impulse to the founding of
the great library came from Demetrius of Phalcron, a distinguished
member of the Aristotelian school, who had been Regent in
Athens for ten years, and subsequently exercised grout influence
in the first Ptolemy's court as chief adviser in mutters of scholar-
ship. The museum, again, was simply a brotherhood of scholars
like that of the philosophical schools of Greece, only differing
from them in its greater endowments and its more eclectic
constitution.

But,though the scholars of Alexandria sought to continue the
traditions of Greek learning, and produced a grout mass of most
valuable work in various departments of study which had been
opened up in the Athenian schools, their work as a whole had
little of the freshness and spontaneity that distinguished the
efforts of their predecessors. Absorbed in their academic tasks,
in the midst of a large native population concerned only with
commerce, they lacked the stimulus to creative production which
comes from personal contact with practical life, and tended to
degenerate into mere bookmen with their interests mainly in the
past. In consequence of this, philosophy and literature never
flourished in Alexandria, and the major part of the work done
took the form of translations, historical compilations, and com-
mentaries which called for a laborious verbal criticism but no
great originality.

It is a significant fact in this connection that the first of the
three periods in the development of the school up to the Christian